DFA: No Filipino hurt in Tonga volcanic eruption

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has assured no Filipino has been injured by the underwater Volcanic eruption in Tonga.

The eruption took place last Saturday. The volcano reportedly is located between the islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai. The eruption triggered tsunamis and wave alerts in several global points.

The Association of Filipinos in Tonga Inc. had advised the Philippine Embassy in Wellington in New Zealand which has diplomatic jurisdiction in the South Pacific island territory “that every Filipino citizen in the Kingdom of Tonga has been accounted for and that there are currently no casualties,” DFA shared, adding that there are at least 87 Filipinos in Tonga, 300 in Samoa, and 400 in Fiji.  

Reports had it that the massive volcanic eruption was heard as far away as Alaska, while the tsunami caused by the blast flooded coastlines in Japan and the United States. At least three people were confirmed dead – one British and two Tongan nationals – in the disaster, aside from two others killed by tsunamis in Peru.

Located some 65 kilometers (40 miles) north of capital Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa on the main Tongatapu island, the undersea volcano begun spewing ash, steam, and gas since last Friday morning.

Anadolu said the volcanic eruption has contaminated the entire water supply in Tonga and its “people are struggling to access clean water. The country’s agriculture and communication lines have severely been devastated.”

Tonga, home to just over 105,000 people, is the third biggest archipelago nation of more than 170 South Pacific islands, many of which are covered with tropical rainforest and remain uninhabited.

The UN humanitarian coordination office in Geneva said many people were still missing while around 100 houses were damaged and 50 completely destroyed. Australia and New Zealand had sent aircrafts to assess the damage.